Birmingham boss Lee Clark felt his team's season was captured in 90 rain-swept minutes at Pride Park as Derby edged a five goal thriller to clinch a third straight home win.
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A double from Conor Sammon and a late strike by substitute Nathan Tyson edged out Birmingham, who twice came back through a Marlon King penalty and a Peter Lovenkrands header.
"I thought our second half performance warranted something but our first-half performance didn't," Clark said. "It's a good summary of our season really, it's a Jekyll and Hyde performance in one game.
"It's been like that game to game for us. We've played well in one game and the next it doesn't look the same team but we had it in one game tonight.
"The first half wasn't our true identity but the second half was. I said to the players at the end that if we play like that from the first whistle and don't allow the opposition to get momentum and get on the front foot, we will get a result."
However, Clark believed his team was hard done by with crucial decisions going against them.
He said: "I don't want to make excuses but facts are facts.
"The first goal was offside, that's a fact and the second goal, Marlon King has been fouled on the edge of the box. I've seen the incidents again and that's what happened."
Derby manager Nigel Clough hailed the victory as a reward for the honesty of his team.
He said: "It's about character, determination and it's also honesty as much as anything from the players.
"Their honesty is incredible. They never give up, they keep going and keep trying to do the right things.
"I thought the manner of the third goal was as good as anything.
"It was a brilliant goal, it came from the right, was dotted across and ended with a sidefoot and a tap-in inside the six-yard box, not many goals finish like that."
Clough was also delighted for Sammon, who had scored only twice in his previous 44 matches.
The manager continued: "He's not renowned for his goalscoring and we didn't bring him in for that but hopefully this will give him a big boost.
"He deserved to get two goals because he led the line brilliantly."
Derby started with purpose and went in front in the 32nd minute when Michael Jacobs cut in from the left and his skidding drive was pushed onto a post by Jack Butland for Sammon, who looked in an offside position when the shot was hit, to head in the rebound.
Birmingham began the second half strongly but Theo Robinson wasted a great chance to score a second when Bryson put him through in the 62nd minute.
The visitors took advantage in the 73rd minute when Rob Hall was clipped by Richard Keogh as he burst into the box and King sent Legzdins the wrong way with the penalty.
Sammon restored Derby's lead in the 80th minute with a low shot from Jake Buxton's header but Birmingham came back again two minutes later when Lovenkrands headed in a left-wing cross.
However, the visitors were level for only two minutes as Jacobs exploited space on the left to cross low for Tyson to slide the ball over the line at the back post.